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How Global Dynamics Shape the Human World


Admission requirements

  • Admission to the Master Archaeology programme;

  • Bachelor's degree (or equivalent) in Archaeology, Anthropology, History or another Humanities/Social Sciences programme.


Globalisation can be defined as “processes by which localities and people become increasingly interconnected and interdependent”. These processes do not result in homogenisation but in a world of disjunctive flows with problems and opportunities that manifest themselves in local forms, with contexts that are anything but local. Globalisation is nothing novel nor a phenomenon exclusively tied up with (European) expansion or modernity, when the world would also become literally global: Globalisation has its history.

'Globalising World History' is important because it invites us to study human societies as interconnected and influencing each other from their very beginnings. It thus offers us an ontology of becoming as an alternative to the ontology of being we seem to be trapped in.
Historicising globalisation will help you better understand how and when our planet became systematically connected and how connectivity works as a (historical) process.

Through examples from all historical periods and regions around the globe, we will discuss historically recognised agentic leaders but also focus on the idea of objects as history-makers.
Objects generate practices and the distribution of objects through globalisation processes generates networks of practices. We will thus combine globalisation with a focus on objects and the possibilities for human action they provide, and investigate what world history looks like from that perspective. This is a course in Deep History indeed.

Many of today’s problems are about globalisation in the sense that they are about making sense of the impact of the ever-widening networks we have become part of; just think of the Covid pandemic.
This course will make the point that such processes are not unique to the modern world, arguing for a much deeper history that is revealed through archaeology in particular.
This recognition will enable you to recognise globalising forces and become more capable of dealing with current societal problems and challenges: studying historical trajectories of globalisation will improve your understanding of the complexities of our 21st century world.

Course set-up

The course will consist of seven sessions. These meetings are part lecture and part debate about compulsory literature. This literature must be studied in advance; the debate in class will be prepared by means of assignments on this literature. The provisional set-up is as follows:

  1. The problem: from being to becoming
  2. Our undivided past
  3. What is Globalisation and why does it matter
  4. Prehistoric beginnings
  5. The explosion of Antiquity
  6. Globalisation unbound
  7. The future of Globalisation (and the Globalisation of the future)

Course objectives

  • Knowledge of and insight into the concepts of globalisation and global dynamics;

  • Knowledge of and insight into the debate on historicising globalisation;

  • Understanding of the problems related to the notions of globalisation and historicising globalisation;

  • Understanding of the relation between the history of globalisation and the complexities of our 21st century world;

  • Ability to summarise and reflect on specialist literature with regard to historical examples of globalisation;

  • Ability to report in written format;

  • Ability to conceive of and write a small essay on the subject.

  • Ability to participate in debates and discussions.


Course schedule details can be found in MyTimetable.
Log in with your ULCN account, and add this course using the 'Add timetable' button.

Mode of instruction

Seven interactive lectures and tutorial. Readings must be studied in advance; discussion in class will be prepared by means of assignments based on the weekly readings.

Assessment method

  • Short (weekly) written assignments (30%);

  • Final essay (60%);

  • Pro-active participation in discussion (10%).

Prior to class students read the assigned literature and submit discussion points/make the assignment. These must be submitted two days before class.

In order to pass the course, all written assignments have to be handed in on time. Compensation is possible according to the OER (Onderwijs- en Examenreglement / Course and Examination Regulations).

There is no retake for the written assignments, only for the final essay (with new topic) if the first attempt has been taken seriously. If you fail the retake for the final essay, any passes for the short written assignments will no longer count (i.e., grades cannot be used the next year).

Assessment deadlines

All assessment deadlines (exams, retakes, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in MyTimetable.
Log in with your ULCN account, and add this course using the 'Add timetable' button. To view the assessment deadline(s), make sure to select the course with a code ending in T and/or R.

The assignments have strict weekly deadlines.

Late submission will result in a lowering of the grade (0.5 point per day).

Reading list

The focus will be on the recent, cutting-edge articles on the topics at stake published in top journals and books. The selection of articles changes yearly, pending publication of recent papers.
The reading list will be published on Brightspace before the course starts.


For lectures, tutorials, and exams, enrolment through MyStudymap is mandatory.
You are also required to confirm your exam in MyStudymap. No confirmation = no participation!

General information about registration can be found on the Course and Exam Enrolment page.


For more information about this course, please contact prof. dr. M.J. (Miguel John) Versluys.


Compulsory attendance.